This book presents a review of the work of the architect Michael Balz, pioneer of concrete-shell architecture. It discusses his projects, both realized and unbuilt, many being designed in collaboration with the renowned Swiss engineer Heinz Isler.
Profusely illustrated with original drawings and photographs, Michael Balz: Shells and Visions caters to the increasing interest in the design and construction of free-form reinforced concrete shells consequent on the advent of 3D modelling and form-finding software. The book describes architectural designs and practical construction issues to motivate contemporary shell designers.
Balz’s experience of dealing with such difficulties as incompatibility with non-structural features and the insertion of windows into shells, and the assessment of buildings’ long-term performance allow readers to learn more easily how to cope with such issues in their own work.
The book introduces Michael Balz, his early work with other architects, including his work on pneumatic forms with Frei Otto, and his evolution into an exponent of organic architecture. It then discusses completed projects, including the outdoor Theater unter den Kuppeln (1976), Ballettsaal (1979) and Balz House (1981). Competitions Balz entered and unrealized shell projects also receive attention, as does his work on the urban scale, highlighting conceptual designs of mega-cities. His visionary megastructures encourage the exploration of innovative solutions for city spaces by architects faced with today’s increased urbanization.
Michael Balz: Shells and Visions will be of interest to students and professionals in the fields of architecture, structural engineering, building and urban design. It’s reflections on the cultural and contextual aspects of Balz’s work will help the architectural historian to appreciate its long-term significance.